Is it a large iPhone? Is it a small laptop? What can you do with it? More importantly, what can’t you do with it?

Just 9. 56 inches by 7. 47 inches and half an inch thick, The Apple iPad looks like a tablet or slate computer with no keyboard or mouse. The main feature is its high-resolution, multi-touch screen. This highly responsive screen is obviously great for games, videos and photo sharing but the jury is still out on its usefulness as a serious business tool.

Here are some of the ways you could use it:

As an e-reader: Catch up with newspapers and magazines or read an e-book while travelling. Text on the iPad’s backlit screen appears crisp and easy to read, although some people might find it a bit too bright for prolonged reading. Its weight – 1. 5 pounds for the Wi-Fi model and just a fraction more for Wi-Fi +3G – makes it as comfortable to hold as a large paperback.     

For emails: The iPad works with all the popular email providers. Use the on screen keyboard to write your emails and save or delete incoming mail with a few taps on the screen.

Working on business documents: Apple’s iWorks software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations has been redesigned with new features for use on the iPad. One drawback is that you can’t multitask as you might on a computer. For example, you can’t have a browser window open while you’re working on a document or spreadsheet.

Organisation: Calendars, contacts, notes and maps are all available to keep your business on track.

For presentations and meetings: The screen uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology to give it a wide viewing angle. This means you can see a sharp picture with excellent colour whether the iPad is flat on a desk, held up vertically or tilted, and the people on either side of you will see it equally well. It’s perfect for displaying photos, graphics, text and videos in group situations, and is easily handed round when more than one person is involved in creating or editing a piece of work.

The iPad will be able to use nearly 140,000 apps currently used on iPhones and iPods, and more are being developed specifically for the iPad. We’ll just have to wait and see how useful some of them will be for business.   

Adam Donoghue is the MD of Woodford Computers; an Essex-based IT company that specialises in ‘making the complex simple’ and providing cost effective solutions. Woodford Computers works closely with small to medium sized businesses to improve and enhance their IT systems so that they run efficiently and consistently. The team includes expert MCP and MCSE certified engineers and CISCO network engineers. To find out more and to book your free, no-obligation IT audit, visit http://www. woodfordcomputers. com

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